Despite being eligible for a four-year, $101 million extension prior to Friday, it’s unlikely the Cavs would pay that much. He averaged just 12.1 points (the lowest since his rookie year) on 43.1% from the field and a career-best 39.2% on 3-pointers to go with 3.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 30.2 minutes.
So, is there a financial compromise? Sources say the Cavs are planning to offer LeVert a contract somewhere in the range of $15-18 million annually — a deal that would keep him out of the midlevel market but not harm the team’s expected pursuit of outside help as well. The preference is to re-sign LeVert and acquire a free agent or two with the MLE.
Cleveland, as Fedor notes in the story, enters the offseason roughly $38 million below the luxury tax line and are eyeing staying under that this offseason. (That’s for good reason — once you go over and start kicking up repeater tax penalties, plus aprons the new CBA has laid out, rosters can get expensive in a hurry.) LeVert at $18 million plus signing a player or two using the MLE (worth roughly $12 million) would keep them under that line with room to sign players to minimum deals to round out the roster.
The Cavs also cannot afford to lose LeVert. They a) gave up a first-round pick to get him and b) don’t have the means of replacing him on the open market. Signing him to a new deal, even if that means trading him in the future, is a must this offseason for Cleveland. The question is ultimately what it costs to bring him back.